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More international news in brief

Published:Monday | February 27, 2017 | 2:00 AM
US President Donald Trump
Malaysia's Health Minister Subramaniam Sathasivam speaks during a press conference in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia, on Sunday.
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Kim Jong Nam died within 20 minutes of poisoning

KUALA LUMPUR, Malaysia (AP):

Malaysia's health minister said Sunday that the dose of nerve agent given to North Korean ruler Kim Jong Un's half-brother was so high that it killed him "within 15-20 minutes".

Kim Jong Nam died on February 13 at Kuala Lumpur's airport in what Malaysian police say was a well-planned hit by two women who wiped a liquid on Kim's face. Police revealed on Friday that the banned chemical weapon VX nerve agent was used to kill Kim, raising the stakes significantly in the case.

Health Minister Subramaniam Sathasivam said the dose of VX given to Kim was so high that he showed symptoms within minutes. Kim fainted at the airport clinic and subsequently died in the ambulance while en route to a hospital, he said.

Hospital doctors suspected from the start that Kim had been given a form of toxic chemical agent due to the rapid symptoms, Subramaniam said.

 

Duped into killing Kim?

Two suspects say it looked like prank

HANOI, Vietnam (AP):

Two women a Vietnamese and an Indonesian have been arrested for allegedly coating their hands with the immensely toxic chemical agent VX and wiping them on the face of the North Korean leader's estranged half-brother Kim Jong Nam at Kuala Lumpur's airport. He died within hours.

The women told officials from their embassies in Malaysia that they believed the entire operation was a harmless prank for a reality show. Malaysian police say the attackers knew what they were doing and had been trained to go immediately to the bathroom and clean their hands.

Trump says he won't attend correspondents' dinner this spring

WASHINGTON, USA (AP):

President Donald Trump, who has been criticising the news media and is famously thin-skinned, says he won't be attending the White House Correspondents' Association Dinner - sparing himself the dubious honour of being an in-the-house target of jokes.

The annual fundraiser for college scholarships and venue for reporting awards mixes politicians, journalists and celebrities and is typically attended by the president and First Lady. Remarks by a comedian, often roasting the president, and a humorous address by the president himself, often roasting the press and political opponents, have highlighted the event, which C-SPAN has carried live.

In a tweet Saturday, Trump wrote: "I will not be attending the White House Correspondents' Association Dinner this year. Please wish everyone well and have a great evening!" He gave no reason for not attending.

In Trump's first speech to Congress, will decorum hold?

WASHINGTON, USA (AP):

A presidential speech to Congress is one of those all-American moments that oozes ritual and decorum.

The House sergeant-at-arms will stand at the rear of the House of Representatives on Tuesday night and announce the arrival of Donald Trump before a joint session of Congress by intoning: "Mister Speaker, the President of the United States", just like always.

Trump will stride down the centre aisle to lusty cheers and hearty handshakes from his Republican supporters. First Lady Melania Trump, accompanied by special guests, will smile from the gallery above.

From there, though, the president, who favours disruption over decorum, can take the night in any number of directions. So can the Democrats who oppose him.

The White House is promising that Trump's first address to Congress will be a forward-looking one about the "renewal of the American spirit".